There is a high level of substance abuse issues among individuals with mental health disorders; at the same time, the percentage of people with a substance use disorders who also suffer from a mental health disorder is far lower. Huh? What does that mean? It means if you have a mental health issue you have a higher risk of developing issues with addiction, but individuals with co-occurring disorders (formally referred to as dual diagnosis) make up a relatively small, although still significant, portion of individuals with addiction issues.
I’ve often been asked about trauma causing substance abuse. My answer has always been no, trauma doesn’t cause substance abuse issues, but it can be the precipitating factor in their development. It also aggravates substance abuse issues and can make recovery more difficult. But lets dig a bit deeper into what that actually means.